A week following an atrocious 43-6 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, it’s imperative that the Las Vegas Raiders get back on track in order to salvage their season.
The Raiders’ offense has been quite explosive the season and the driving force to five of their six wins this season. The unit is also the reason the team was receiving praise from national media sources following a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11. However, the offense deserved the bulk of the blame for the loss to the Falcons. If the Raiders want to right the ship and make a playoff push, it’s imperative these three players have a good game against the New York Jets.
Brandon Parker will have to perform under pressure
While there have been several reports about the return of Trent Brown this week, Jon Gruden thinks the team will be without their star right tackle. This would vault Brandon Parker back into the starting right tackle role. The third-year lineman has played well this year and was starting to look like he could be a key piece for the future of the offensive line.
Nevertheless, it looked like he reverted back to the Parker of old in Week 12. Winning at the line of scrimmage is a crucial part of any game plan and especially with a team that runs the ball as much as the Raiders. Parker’s performance could be the difference between a win or a loss against the ‘Gang Green.’
Devontae Booker will lead the Raiders rushing attack
Josh Jacobs was officially ruled out on Thursday, meaning that Booker will be the focal point of the run game. Booker will most likely receive the lion’s share of the carries. ’23’ has had his moments filling in for Jacobs here and there but hasn’t been a feature back since his rookie year in Denver. The most carries he has this year is 16 and that was back in Week 10 against Denver.
The run game is a major factor in Gruden’s game plans week in and week out. Things won’t be different this time. With their star out, it’ll be the next man up for the running back unit. Booker has proven he can hold his own. He’s come in off the bench and been a spark plug when they needed him. That energy will just have to be present much earlier in this game.
Derek Carr needs to bounce back
In all fairness, Carr could be considered “crucial” every week. However, this week is especially important for him. His performance against the Falcons was one of the worst in his entire career. He fumbled three times and threw a pick-six while racking up an empty 215 yards and no touchdowns. Carr’s issues were one of the main reasons that led to the eventual blowout loss. The Jets defense is the third-worst in yards allowed.
To be fair though, the Falcons defense is the second-worst. However, the Falcons had been playing better football in the weeks leading up to the game against the Raiders, the Jets have not. The Jets also have only racked up and total of 18 sacks this season despite being one of the highest blitzing teams in the league. Carr should have clean pockets and should be able to test New York’s poor passing defense. A quick rebound from the quarterback is possible and needed. A dominating win would kickstart Carr and the Raiders to push for one of those three wild card spots.
What’s at stake for the Raiders?
The Raiders have had playoff aspirations since Week 1 this year. Also, many fans have considered this year to be a minimum of playoff or bust. The offense was most likely going to be the major driving force for any potential playoff push.
The Raiders’ remaining schedule has two teams sitting at 7-4 in the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts. If they want to keep those playoff hopes alive, beating those teams will be crucial. In order for them to beat those squads, the offense is going to have to fire on all cylinders and there’s no better week to find that groove than against the 0-11 Jets.
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Top Photo: Las Vegas Raiders official YouTube channel